May 13, 2009
Illinois running back checking out CSU
If Jamel Martinhas his way, he will take the Kurt Warner approach to training for the NFL after a career bagging groceries. Martin, who works at the local Jewel Grocery Store, carries scholarship offers from Colorado State and Indiana and is making Bollingbrook, Ill. a very popular stop for college football recruiters.
At 6-foot and 195 pounds, Martin runs a 4.42 in the 40-yard dash and a 36-inch vertical leap. He also claims a bench press of 300 pounds and a 500-pound squat. Last season Martin patrolled the Bollingbrook backfield to the tune of 800 yards rushing and another 13 receptions with 11 touchdowns total. His contribution helped to push Bollingbrook to an undefeated record and appearance in the second round of the playoffs. The numbers have also enticed several coaches to evaluate Martin in person.
"Last week I saw Illinois, Notre Dame came by yesterday, Georgetown came by too," Martin said last week. "Last week I saw Illinois, Illinois State, Michigan, Michigan, Western Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota came by yesterday."
Martin said he coaches are telling him they like his size, his speed and agility, pointing out his most recent highlight tape has brought out the coaches in droves.
"It is humbling," Martin said "It has to do with my highlight tape. I have a good highlight tape and when they see me in person, they say I am a nice size. I am enjoying it."
Colorado State was among the schools who visited the Bollingbrook back recently and sent him some recruiting information as well.
"I talked to their coach last week and he told me it was a great school and the facilities are getting better," Martin said. "He said it was a great school to be at. I know they had a great running back (San Diego Chargers third-round pick Gartrell Johnson) last year who is going pro. They send running backs to the NFL and they like to give the ball to the running back 20-30 times a game. That is a good thing."
Martin said he hasn't put together a list of favorites, but does like all of the schools that he has talked to thus far. He added he has not really been a college football fan until he began to be recruited. However, he is deciding on what he likes in a school and a football program.
"The school is important because not everyone has a chance to get to the NFL," Martin said. "I have to have a plan to fall back on. The education I am getting from the school is very important. It doesn't matter where I go, but my mom wants me to stay close. I don't know that a school would be too far away for me though."
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